Authorizing Permissive Use of the “Next Generation” Broadcast Television Standard, 60350-60355 [2017-27433]

Download as PDF 60350 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 243 / Wednesday, December 20, 2017 / Proposed Rules specified by Executive Order 13175 (65 FR 67249, November 9, 2000). List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 52 Environmental protection, Air pollution control, Incorporation by reference, Intergovernmental relations, Volatile organic compounds, Particulate matter. Dated: December 5, 2017. Alexis Strauss, Acting Regional Administrator, Region IX. [FR Doc. 2017–27432 Filed 12–19–17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560–50–P FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION 47 CFR Parts 15, 73, 74 and 76 [GN Docket No. 16–142; FCC 17–158] Authorizing Permissive Use of the ‘‘Next Generation’’ Broadcast Television Standard Federal Communications Commission. ACTION: Proposed rule. AGENCY: In this document, we seek further comment on issues related to exceptions to and waivers of the local simulcasting requirement, whether we should let full power broadcasters use channels in the television broadcast band that are vacant to facilitate the transition to 3.0, and finally, we tentatively conclude that local simulcasting should not change the significantly viewed status of a Next Gen TV station. DATES: Comments are due on or before February 20, 2018; reply comments are due on or before March 20, 2018. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments, identified by GN Docket No. 16–142, by any of the following methods: • Federal Communications Commission’s website: http:// www.fcc.gov/cgb/ecfs/. Follow the instructions for submitting comments. • Mail: Filings can be sent by hand or messenger delivery, by commercial overnight courier, or by first-class or overnight U.S. Postal Service mail (although the Commission continues to experience delays in receiving U.S. Postal Service mail). All filings must be addressed to the Commission’s Secretary, Office of the Secretary, Federal Communications Commission. • People With Disabilities: Contact the FCC to request reasonable accommodations (accessible format documents, sign language interpreters, CART, etc.) by email: FCC504@fcc.gov or phone: (202) 418–0530 or TTY: (202) ethrower on DSK3G9T082PROD with PROPOSALS SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 22:03 Dec 19, 2017 Jkt 244001 418–0432. For detailed instructions for submitting comments and additional information on the rulemaking process, see the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of this document. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For additional information, contact Evan Baranoff, Evan.Baranoff@fcc.gov, of the Media Bureau, Policy Division, (202) 418–7142, or Matthew Hussey, Matthew.Hussey@fcc.gov, of the Office of Engineering and Technology, (202) 418–3619. Direct press inquiries to Janice Wise at (202) 418–8165. For additional information concerning the Paperwork Reduction Act information collection requirements contained in this document, send an email to PRA@ fcc.gov or contact Cathy Williams at (202) 418–2918. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This is a summary of the Commission’s Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FNPRM), FCC 17–158, adopted on November 16, 2017 and released on November 20, 2017. The full text of this document is available electronically via the FCC’s Electronic Document Management System (EDOCS) website at http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/ or via the FCC’s Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS) website at http:// fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs2/. (Documents will be available electronically in ASCII, Microsoft Word, and/or Adobe Acrobat.) This document is also available for public inspection and copying during regular business hours in the FCC Reference Information Center, which is located in Room CY–A257 at FCC Headquarters, 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC 20554. The Reference Information Center is open to the public Monday through Thursday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. The complete text may be purchased from the Commission’s copy contractor, 445 12th Street SW, Room CY–B402, Washington, DC 20554. Alternative formats are available for people with disabilities (Braille, large print, electronic files, audio format), by sending an email to fcc504@fcc.gov or calling the Commission’s Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau at (202) 418–0530 (voice), (202) 418–0432 (TTY). Synopsis I. Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking A. Introduction 1. In this Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, we seek further comment on three topics related to the rules adopted in the companion Report and PO 00000 Frm 00017 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 Order. First, we seek further comment on issues related to exceptions to and waivers of the local simulcasting requirement. Second, we seek comment on whether we should let full power broadcasters use channels in the television broadcast band that are vacant to facilitate the transition to 3.0. Finally, we tentatively conclude that local simulcasting should not change the significantly viewed status of a Next Gen TV station. B. Discussion 1. Local Simulcasting Waivers and Exceptions 2. Simulcast Waivers. In the Report and Order, we explain that we will consider requests for waiver of our local simulcasting requirement on a case-bycase basis, including (1) requests seeking to transition directly from 1.0 to 3.0 service on the station’s existing facility without simulcasting in 1.0 and (2) requests to air a 1.0 simulcast channel from a host location that does not cover all or a portion of the station’s community of license or from which the station can provide only a lower signal threshold over the community than that required by the rules.1 With respect to such requests, we state: ‘‘We are inclined to consider favorably requests for waiver of our local simulcasting requirement where the Next Gen TV station can demonstrate that it has no viable local simulcasting partner in its market and where the station agrees to make reasonable efforts to preserve 1.0 service to existing viewers in its community of license and/or otherwise minimize the impact on such viewers (for example, by providing free or low cost ATSC 3.0 converters to viewers).’’ 3. We seek comment on what further guidance we should provide about the circumstances in which we will grant a waiver of the local simulcasting requirement. How should we determine if a station has a ‘‘viable’’ simulcast partner? Given that we specify in the Report and Order that a Next Gen TV broadcaster’s 1.0 simulcast channel must continue to cover its entire community of license, should we consider a station to have no viable partner only if there is no potential simulcasting partner in the same DMA that can cover the station’s entire community of license? Alternatively, should we consider adopting a broader definition of viability? For example, should we specify that waiver 1 The Commission may waive its rules if good cause is shown. See 47 CFR 1.3. We explain in the Report and Order that we are not inclined to consider favorably requests to change community of license solely to enable simulcasting. E:\FR\FM\20DEP1.SGM 20DEP1 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 243 / Wednesday, December 20, 2017 / Proposed Rules ethrower on DSK3G9T082PROD with PROPOSALS applicants located in DMAs in which there are fewer than a threshold number of full power and/or Class A or LPTV broadcasters will be considered to have no viable partner? If so, what threshold should we adopt? How should we consider cases in which there are no stations that can cover a station’s community of license, and therefore serve as an ATSC 1.0 simulcast host under our rules, but there are stations in the DMA that are transitioning to ATSC 3.0 and therefore could potentially serve as a 3.0 lighthouse? If there is a potential partner in the same DMA, are there other circumstances that would make such potential partner not viable, such as, for example, if the potential partner refused to agree to being a simulcasting partner? Should we have different levels of scrutiny for waiver requests depending on whether the petition seeks to transition directly as opposed to simulcast from a facility that will not cover its community of license? For stations that seek to simulcast from a facility that will not cover its community of license, should a factor be how far the host location is from the petitioner’s community of license? Are there special circumstances we should consider for NCE stations, including those that are in isolated areas or are not centrally located in DMAs? 2 We seek comment on the same issues for Class A stations if they cannot find a host that allows them to satisfy the simulcasting requirements in the Report and Order. We also seek comment on the potential impact that any definition of viability would have on local viewers. 4. In addition, we seek comment on what type of ‘‘reasonable efforts’’ we should require a waiver applicant to undertake in order to preserve 1.0 service to existing viewers in its community of license and/or otherwise minimize the impact on viewers in its coverage area. Should it be favorable to our determination if waiver applicants volunteer to provide free or low cost ATSC 3.0 converters to viewers in their coverage area? Should we require such a commitment as a condition for waiver? Are there other efforts to 2 Several commenters express concern that some broadcasters would not be able to satisfy a local simulcasting requirement because of the lack of availability of potential simulcasting partners. For example, PBS states that ‘‘[p]ublic stations may be unable to share facilities with another station, particularly in rural and isolated communities, because they are often not centrally located in a television market. . . .’’ PBS further explains that this is because ‘‘noncommercial educational mustcarry rights are not tied to Designated Market Areas, so such stations are not necessarily sited near their commercial counterparts, and given that 16 states are covered by statewide public television networks that are designed to serve their entire state regardless of DMA boundaries.’’ VerDate Sep<11>2014 22:03 Dec 19, 2017 Jkt 244001 minimize disruption to consumers that we should consider or require? We also invite comment on other circumstances in which we should consider granting waivers of the local simulcasting requirement. 5. Simulcast Exceptions. We also seek comment on whether to exempt NCE and/or Class A stations as a class from our local simulcasting requirement or adopt a presumptive waiver standard for such stations. In the Report and Order, we exempt LPTV and TV translator stations from our local simulcasting requirement and allow these stations to transition directly to 3.0 service. Class A and NCE stations could also face more difficulty than commercial full power stations face when seeking a local simulcasting partner. Could allowing Class A and NCE stations to transition directly to 3.0 make them more attractive ‘‘lighthouse’’ candidates? We seek comment on whether, as a general matter, allowing NCE and Class A stations to transition directly would serve the public interest. Under what circumstances would direct transitions be appropriate? What effect would this have on consumers and on MVPDs? What criteria distinguish these stations from full power commercial broadcasters to justify disparate treatment? 2. Temporary Use of Vacant Channels 6. In the Next Gen TV NPRM, we asked whether we should ‘‘consider allowing broadcasters [that wish to deploy ATSC 3.0 service] to use vacant in-band channels remaining in the market after the incentive auction repack to serve as temporary host facilities for ATSC 1.0 or 3.0 programming by multiple broadcasters.’’ ONE Media requests that in markets with vacant channels, the Commission should allow full power broadcasters to use the vacant channels as ‘‘dedicated transition channels to ensure maximum continuity of service, just as it did during the transition from analog to digital.’’ It suggests that these vacant channels should be made available during the post-auction transition period, and that only after the full power broadcaster has vacated the channel should the channel be made available to others, such as displaced LPTV and translator license applicants. ONE Media asserts that as primary users in the television band, full power licensees have priority to obtain licenses for vacant channels over any LPTV and translator licensees, and therefore full power licensees should be able to use such a channel as a transition channel during the voluntary ATSC 3.0 deployment period, even if it is the only PO 00000 Frm 00018 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 60351 channel to which a displaced LPTV or translator station could relocate. The LPTV Spectrum Rights Coalition opposes ONE Media’s proposal on the ground that it would diminish LPTV licensing rights in the middle of the displacement process. The Wi-Fi Alliance, Microsoft, the Consumers Union et al., and Dynamic Spectrum Alliance also oppose any approach that would expand broadcasters’ spectrum rights in conjunction with ATSC 3.0 deployment, and they express concern about damaging the potential success of white space use in the television bands. 7. Given the diversity of comments on this issue, we seek additional comment on the extent to which we should allow full power broadcasters to use vacant channels in the television broadcast band to facilitate the transition to 3.0, and, if so, when they should be able to use these channels, and what procedures we should use to authorize that use. As a threshold matter, how should we define a ‘‘vacant’’ channel for this purpose? We seek specific comment on ONE Media’s proposal, and how it potentially would affect the postincentive auction transition/repacking process and the various other users in the repacked television band.3 That is, given that vacant channels might be needed by stations transitioning to new channel assignments, how does ONE Media’s proposal impact that and the post-auction process in general? For example, if we allow usage of vacant channels, should we only allow temporary access to a vacant channel after the repacking process is completed? Or, should we permit such access after the LPTV displacement window is closed? 8. If we were to permit full power licensees priority to use vacant channels as dedicated transition channels, we seek comment on the process for doing so. Specifically, how would broadcasters apply for an authorization to use a vacant channel? Should the request be for Special Temporary Authority (STA)? Should we instead consider a request for a temporary channel to be a minor change of the station’s existing license and require a minor change application? If we treat these requests as minor changes, should we process such requests on a firstcome, first-served basis? Should we 3 In the Incentive Auction R&O, the Commission provided for a 39-month post-incentive auction transition pertaining to the various secondary broadcast and unlicensed operations in the TV bands—including LPTV and TV translator stations, broadcast auxiliary service, wireless microphones, and unlicensed white space devices—with the goal of promoting a smooth and effective transition process. E:\FR\FM\20DEP1.SGM 20DEP1 60352 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 243 / Wednesday, December 20, 2017 / Proposed Rules open a window for such requests? How should we resolve competing requests for temporary channels? What should we require a broadcaster to show to demonstrate that it needs a temporary channel, and how long should the authorization last? What effect would this proposal have on other users in the repacked band, including wireless microphone users and white space device operations? 4 We also seek input on how we should address MVPD carriage issues related to usage of vacant channels. How would the Commission handle loss of service when the full power broadcaster ceases its temporary operation—and moves back to its original facility? We seek specific comment on the effects on small entities: (1) Would allowing broadcasters to use these vacant channels help small broadcasters transition, (2) would allowing broadcasters to use these vacant channels impose carriage burdens on small MVPDs, and (3) what can we do to ease the burdens on those entities? We seek comment on these and any other issues that we would need to address if we allow full power broadcasters to use vacant channels as temporary transition channels. 3. Significantly Viewed Status of Next Gen TV Stations ethrower on DSK3G9T082PROD with PROPOSALS 9. We tentatively conclude that the significantly viewed status of a Next Gen TV station should not change if it moves its 1.0 simulcast channel to a temporary host facility.5 Under our proposal, a commercial television station that relocates its 1.0 simulcast channel could not seek to gain significantly viewed status in new communities or counties and such station could not lose significantly viewed status in communities or counties for which it qualified prior to the move of its 1.0 simulcast channel. We seek comment on this tentative conclusion. In the Report and Order, we impose a freeze on the filing of any requests to change the significantly viewed status of a Next Gen TV station that is moving its 1.0 simulcast channel 4 We note that the Commission has an open proceeding seeking comment on whether to preserve a vacant channel in every area for white space device and wireless microphone use. 5 Significantly viewed stations are commercial television stations that the Commission has determined have ‘‘significant’’ over-the-air (i.e., non-cable and non-satellite) viewing and are thus treated as local stations in certain respects with regard to a particular community in another television market. The Significantly Viewed Stations List is maintained on Commission’s website at https://transition.fcc.gov/mb/significant viewedstations061817.pdf. VerDate Sep<11>2014 22:03 Dec 19, 2017 Jkt 244001 to avoid confusion while we consider this issue.6 10. Stations that vary their signal strength or change their location as a result of moving their 1.0 signal to simulcast raise the question of how this change may affect their status as ‘‘significantly viewed’’ in certain communities or counties under §§ 76.5(i) and 76.54 of our rules. Significantly viewed status allows the significantly viewed station (1) to be carried by a satellite carrier in such community in the other market; 7 (2) to be carried in such community by cable and satellite operators at the reduced copyright payment applicable to local (in-market) stations; and (3) to be exempt in such community from another station’s assertion of its network non-duplication or syndicated exclusivity rights. We tentatively agree with ATVA that we should maintain the status quo in the significantly viewed context with respect to 1.0 simulcast signals.8 We note that our tentative conclusion differs from how we addressed this issue in the channel sharing context. In the Incentive Auction Report and Order, the Commission found that because significantly viewed status is largely a function of signal availability, a station moving to a new channel should lose its status at the relinquished location. But unlike the channel sharing context, Next Gen TV broadcasters are not relinquishing their original channel, but rather will continue to operate on it and will ultimately return to it when the local simulcasting period ends. That is, the relocation of the 1.0 signal is temporary and a Next Gen TV broadcaster will continue to reach the communities or counties in which it is significantly viewed with an over-theair signal, albeit in 3.0.9 6 We note that, in order to obtain a waiver of the network nonduplication and syndicated-exclusivity rules (collectively, ‘‘exclusivity rules’’), petitioners seeking to reassert exclusivity rights on significantly viewed stations are required to demonstrate for two consecutive years that a station was no longer significantly viewed, based either on community-specific or system-specific over-the-air viewing data, following the methodology set forth in 47 CFR 76.54(b). 7 Significantly viewed status is an exception to the ‘‘no distant where local’’ requirement which prohibits satellite carriage of distant (out-of-market) stations. 8 We note that ATVA argues the Commission should ‘‘prohibit simulcasts that reduce a station’s eligibility for ‘significantly viewed’ carriage’’ and urges that the Commission ‘‘not adopt the approach it took to channel sharing.’’ Although we do not restrict simulcasts in the manner sought by ATVA, we tentatively agree with ATVA in this FNPRM to the extent that ATVA seeks to maintain the status quo with respect to significantly viewed carriage while local simulcasting is required. 9 We tentatively conclude that the availability of the 3.0 signal to the station’s existing viewers at its PO 00000 Frm 00019 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 11. We recognize that broadcasters would not soon be able to demonstrate ‘‘significant viewing’’ with their 3.0 signals, but expect they will eventually be able to do so once Next Gen TV service takes hold in the marketplace. In the meantime, we tentatively conclude that maintaining the status quo with respect to eligibility for significantly viewed carriage would avoid some complications and disruptions to cable and satellite television viewers who have come to rely on such signals, while not imposing added mandatory carriage burdens on MVPDs.10 We likewise tentatively conclude that expansion of eligibility for significantly viewed carriage due to the relocation of the 1.0 simulcast channel is not consistent with the purposes of local simulcasting, which includes maintaining existing television service to viewers within the station’s original coverage area but does not include expanding service into new areas. We seek comment on our proposal and tentative conclusions. We also seek comment on what effect our proposal and tentative conclusions would have on small broadcasters and MVPDs. II. Procedural Matters A. Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis 12. As required by the Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980, as amended (RFA), the Federal Communications Commission (Commission) has prepared this present Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (IRFA) concerning the possible significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities by the policies and rules proposed in the Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FNPRM). Written public comments are requested on this IRFA. Comments must be identified as responses to the IRFA and must be filed by the deadlines for comments provided on the first page of the item. The Commission will send a copy of the FNPRM, including this IRFA, to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration (SBA).11 In addition, the FNPRM and IRFA (or original location is relevant in the significantly viewed context. Moreover, considering 3.0 service in this regard will not impose additional mandatory carriage obligations on MVPDs (because MVPD carriage of significantly viewed stations is voluntary). 10 We note that significantly viewed status does not confer mandatory carriage rights to the station, but rather only allows carriage of the station via retransmission consent. Thus, maintaining the status quo with respect to eligibility for significantly viewed carriage presents no mandatory carriage burdens on MVPDs. 11 See 5 U.S.C. 603(a). E:\FR\FM\20DEP1.SGM 20DEP1 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 243 / Wednesday, December 20, 2017 / Proposed Rules summaries thereof) will be published in the Federal Register.12 ethrower on DSK3G9T082PROD with PROPOSALS 1. Need for, and Objectives of, the Proposed Rules 13. In this Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, we seek further comment on three topics related to the rules adopted in the companion Report and Order, which authorizes television broadcasters to use the ‘‘Next Generation’’ broadcast television (Next Gen TV) transmission standard, also called ‘‘ATSC 3.0’’ or ‘‘3.0,’’ on a voluntary, market-driven basis. Next Gen TV broadcasters will continue to deliver current-generation digital television (DTV) service, using the ATSC 1.0 transmission standard, also called ‘‘ATSC 1.0’’ or ‘‘1.0,’’ to their viewers via ‘‘local simulcasting.’’ 14. Simulcast Waivers and Exceptions. First, we seek further comment on issues related to exceptions to and waivers of the local simulcasting requirement. In the Report and Order, we explain that we will consider requests for waiver of our local simulcasting requirement on a case-bycase basis, including (1) requests seeking to transition directly from 1.0 to 3.0 service on the station’s existing facility without simulcasting in 1.0 and (2) requests to air a 1.0 simulcast channel from a host location that does not cover all or a portion of the station’s community of license or from which the station can provide only a lower signal threshold over the community than that required by the rules.13 With respect to such requests, we state: ‘‘We are inclined to consider favorably requests for waiver of our local simulcasting requirement where the Next Gen TV station can demonstrate that it has no viable local simulcasting partner in its market and where the station agrees to make reasonable efforts to preserve 1.0 service to existing viewers in its community of license and/or otherwise minimize the impact on such viewers (for example, by providing free or low cost ATSC 3.0 converters to viewers).’’ In this FNPRM, we seek comment on what further guidance we should provide about the circumstances in which we will grant a waiver of the local simulcasting requirement. Among other things, we ask how we should determine if a station has a ‘‘viable’’ simulcast partner and whether there are special circumstances we should See id. The Commission may waive its rules if good cause is shown. See 47 CFR 1.3. We explain in the Report and Order that we are not inclined to consider favorably requests to change community of license solely to enable simulcasting. 12 13 VerDate Sep<11>2014 22:03 Dec 19, 2017 Jkt 244001 consider for NCE and/or Class A stations. 15. Simulcast Exceptions.14 In the Report and Order, we exempt LPTV and TV translator stations from our local simulcasting requirement and allow these stations to transition directly to 3.0 service. In this FNPRM, we also seek comment on whether to exempt NCE and/or Class A stations as a class from our local simulcasting requirement or adopt a presumptive waiver standard for such stations. Class A and NCE stations could also face more difficulty than commercial full power stations face when seeking a local simulcasting partner. 16. Temporary Use of Vacant Channels. Second, we seek comment on whether we should let full power broadcasters use channels in the television broadcast band that are vacant to facilitate the transition to 3.0. In the Next Gen TV NPRM, the Commission asked whether we should ‘‘consider allowing broadcasters [that wish to deploy ATSC 3.0 service] to use vacant in-band channels remaining in the market after the incentive auction repack to serve as temporary host facilities for ATSC 1.0 or 3.0 programming by multiple broadcasters.’’ ONE Media requests that in markets with vacant channels, the Commission should allow full power broadcasters to use the vacant channels as ‘‘dedicated transition channels to ensure maximum continuity of service, just as it did during the transition from analog to digital.’’ The LPTV Spectrum Rights Coalition opposes ONE Media’s proposal on the ground that it would diminish LPTV licensing rights in the middle of the displacement process. The Wi-Fi Alliance, Microsoft, the Consumers Union et al., and Dynamic Spectrum Alliance also oppose any approach that would expand broadcasters’ spectrum rights in conjunction with ATSC 3.0 deployment, and they express concern about damaging the potential success of white space use in the television bands. 17. Significantly Viewed Status of Next Gen TV Stations. Finally, we tentatively conclude that local simulcasting should not change the significantly viewed status of a Next Gen TV station. Stations that vary their signal strength or change their location as a result of moving their 1.0 signal to simulcast raise the question of how this change may affect their status as ‘‘significantly viewed’’ in certain communities or counties under 14 Unlike waivers which are considered on a caseby-case basis, exceptions or class waivers do not require the filing of a waiver request. PO 00000 Frm 00020 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 60353 §§ 76.5(i) and 76.54 of our rules. Significantly viewed status allows the significantly viewed station (1) to be carried by a satellite carrier in such community in the other market; (2) to be carried in such community by cable and satellite operators at the reduced copyright payment applicable to local (in-market) stations; and (3) to be exempt in such community from another station’s assertion of its network non-duplication or syndicated exclusivity rights. Under our proposal, a commercial television station that relocates its 1.0 simulcast channel could not seek to gain significantly viewed status in new communities or counties and such station could not lose significantly viewed status in communities or counties for which it qualified prior to the move of its 1.0 simulcast channel. 2. Legal Basis 18. The proposed action is authorized pursuant to sections 1, 4, 301, 303, 307, 308, 309, 316, 319, 325(b), 336, 338, 399b, 403, 534, and 535 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. 151, 154, 301, 303, 307, 308, 309, 316, 319, 325(b), 336, 338, 399b, 403, 534, and 535. 3. Description and Estimate of the Number of Small Entities To Which the Proposed Rules Will Apply 19. The RFA directs agencies to provide a description of, and where feasible, an estimate of the number of small entities that may be affected by the proposed rules, if adopted. The types of small entities that may be affected by the R&O fall within the following categories: (1) Wired Telecommunications Carriers, of which 3,083 are estimated to be small entities; (2) Cable Companies and Systems (Rate Regulation), of which 3,900 are estimated to be small entities; (3) Cable System Operators (Telecom Act Standard), of which 52,403,696 are estimated to be small entities; (4) Direct Broadcast Satellite Service, of which 3,083 are estimated to be small entities, but internally developed FCC data suggest that in general DBS service is only provided by large entities; (5) Satellite Master Antenna Television (SMATV) Systems, also known as Private Cable Operators (PCOs),of which 3,083 are estimated to be small entities; (6) Home Satellite Dish (HSD) Service, of which 3,083 are estimated to be small entities; (7) Open Video Services, of which 3,083 are estimated to be small entities; (8) Wireless Cable Systems— Broadband Radio Service and Educational Broadband Service, of which 440 (BBS) and 2,241 (EBS) are E:\FR\FM\20DEP1.SGM 20DEP1 60354 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 243 / Wednesday, December 20, 2017 / Proposed Rules estimated to be small entities; (9) Incumbent Local Exchange Carriers (ILECs) and Small Incumbent Local Exchange Carriers, of which 3,083 are estimated to be small entities; (10) Radio and Television Broadcasting and Wireless Communications Equipment Manufacturing, of which 819 are estimated to be small entities; (11) Audio and Video Equipment Manufacturing of which 465 are estimated to be small entities; (12) and Television Broadcasting, of which 656 (commercial stations), 395 (NCE stations), 2,344 (LPTV), and 3,689 (TV translator stations) are estimated to be small entities. ethrower on DSK3G9T082PROD with PROPOSALS 4. Description of Projected Reporting, Recordkeeping, and Other Compliance Requirements 20. The FNPRM does not propose any new reporting, recordkeeping, or compliance requirements. However, if the Commission decides to allow the use of unused channels, there may be new reporting requirements, such as the filing of an application with the Commission. Additionally, if the Commission decides to adopt specific criteria for its waiver standard, these may be considered new compliance requirements. 5. Steps Taken To Minimize Significant Economic Impact on Small Entities and Significant Alternatives Considered 21. The RFA requires an agency to describe any significant alternatives that it has considered in reaching its proposed approach, which may include the following four alternatives (among others): ‘‘(1) The establishment of differing compliance or reporting requirements or timetables that take into account the resources available to small entities; (2) the clarification, consolidation, or simplification of compliance and reporting requirements under the rule for such small entities; (3) the use of performance rather than design standards; and (4) an exemption from coverage of the rule, or any part thereof, for small entities.’’ 15 22. Local Simulcasting Waivers and Exceptions. The FNPRM seeks comment on two issues related to waivers of the local simulcasting requirement: (1) The circumstances in which we should grant a waiver of our local simulcasting requirement for full power and Class A stations; and (2) whether we should permit NCE and Class A stations to transition directly from ATSC 1.0 to 3.0. As noted in Section C. of this IRFA, NCE and Class A stations are considered small entities. Waiver of, or exemption 15 5 U.S.C. 603(c)(1)–(c)(4). VerDate Sep<11>2014 22:03 Dec 19, 2017 Jkt 244001 from, the local simulcasting requirement may afford more flexibility to broadcasters, including small entities, that may face unique challenges in finding a suitable simulcasting partner. This added flexibility may reduce costs for such small entities. 23. Temporary Use of Vacant Channels. The FNPRM seeks comment on whether we should allow full power broadcasters to use vacant channels in the television broadcast band to facilitate the transition to 3.0, and, if so, when they should be able to use these channels, and what procedures we should use to authorize that use. We seek specific comment on the effects on small entities: (1) Would allowing broadcasters to use these vacant channels help small broadcasters transition to 3.0?, 16 (2) would allowing broadcasters to use these vacant channels impose carriage burdens on small MVPDs?, and (3) what can we do to ease the burdens on those small entities? 24. Significantly Viewed Status of Next Gen TV Stations. The FNPRM tentatively concludes that the significantly viewed status of a Next Gen TV station should not change if it moves its 1.0 simulcast channel to a temporary host facility. Under this proposal, a commercial television station that relocates its 1.0 simulcast channel could not seek to gain significantly viewed status in new communities or counties and such station could not lose significantly viewed status in communities or counties for which it qualified prior to the move of its 1.0 simulcast channel. We tentatively conclude that maintaining the status quo with respect to eligibility for significantly viewed carriage would avoid some complications and disruptions to MVPDs and their subscribers, who have come to rely on such signals. We seek comment on what effect our proposal and tentative conclusion would have on small broadcasters and MVPDs. 6. Federal Rules That May Duplicate, Overlap, or Conflict With the Proposed Rule 25. None. 16 For example, NCTA opposes temporary use of vacant channels in the television broadcast band for ATSC 1.0 simulcast signals. NCTA Reply at 8. NCTA explains that ‘‘[a]llowing use of a ‘temporary’ channel for these purposes would impose new, unreimbursed costs on cable operators. Operators might need to purchase and install new equipment—or at a minimum, incur the labor costs and burdens of repointing receive antennas at the headend—to be able to continue to receive a station transmitting on this new frequency.’’ Id. PO 00000 Frm 00021 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 B. Initial Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 Analysis 26. This NPRM may result in new or revised information collection requirements. If the Commission adopts any new or revised information collection requirements, the Commission will publish a notice in the Federal Register inviting the public to comment on such requirements, as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995. In addition, pursuant to the Small Business Paperwork Relief Act of 2002, the Commission will seek specific comment on how it might ‘‘further reduce the information collection burden for small business concerns with fewer than 25 employees.’’ C. Ex Parte Rules 27. Permit But Disclose. The proceeding this Notice initiates shall be treated as a ‘‘permit-but-disclose’’ proceeding in accordance with the Commission’s ex parte rules. Ex parte presentations are permissible if disclosed in accordance with Commission rules, except during the Sunshine Agenda period when presentations, ex parte or otherwise, are generally prohibited. Persons making ex parte presentations must file a copy of any written presentation or a memorandum summarizing any oral presentation within two business days after the presentation (unless a different deadline applicable to the Sunshine period applies). Persons making oral ex parte presentations are reminded that memoranda summarizing the presentation must (1) list all persons attending or otherwise participating in the meeting at which the ex parte presentation was made, and (2) summarize all data presented and arguments made during the presentation. Memoranda must contain a summary of the substance of the ex parte presentation and not merely a listing of the subjects discussed. More than a one or two sentence description of the views and arguments presented is generally required. If the presentation consisted in whole or in part of the presentation of data or arguments already reflected in the presenter’s written comments, memoranda or other filings in the proceeding, the presenter may provide citations to such data or arguments in his or her prior comments, memoranda, or other filings (specifying the relevant page and/or paragraph numbers where such data or arguments can be found) in lieu of summarizing them in the memorandum. Documents shown or given to Commission staff during ex parte meetings are deemed to be written ex parte presentations and E:\FR\FM\20DEP1.SGM 20DEP1 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 243 / Wednesday, December 20, 2017 / Proposed Rules must be filed consistent with § 1.1206(b) of the rules. In proceedings governed by § 1.49(f) of the rules or for which the Commission has made available a method of electronic filing, written ex parte presentations and memoranda summarizing oral ex parte presentations, and all attachments thereto, must be filed through the electronic comment filing system available for that proceeding, and must be filed in their native format (e.g., .doc, .xml, .ppt, searchable .pdf). Participants in this proceeding should familiarize themselves with the Commission’s ex parte rules. ethrower on DSK3G9T082PROD with PROPOSALS D. Filing Procedures 28. Pursuant to §§ 1.415 and 1.419 of the Commission’s rules, 47 CFR 1.415, 1.419, interested parties may file comments and reply comments on or before the dates indicated on the first page of this document. Comments may be filed using the Commission’s Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS). Electronic Filers: Comments may be filed electronically using the internet by accessing the ECFS: http:// apps.fcc.gov/ecfs/. D Electronic Filers: Comments may be filed electronically using the internet by accessing the ECFS: http://apps.fcc.gov/ ecfs/. D Paper Filers: Parties who choose to file by paper must file an original and one copy of each filing. If more than one docket or rulemaking number appears in the caption of this proceeding, filers must submit two additional copies for each additional docket or rulemaking number. D Filings can be sent by hand or messenger delivery, by commercial overnight courier, or by first-class or overnight U.S. Postal Service mail. All filings must be addressed to the Commission’s Secretary, Office of the Secretary, Federal Communications Commission. D All hand-delivered or messengerdelivered paper filings for the Commission’s Secretary must be delivered to FCC Headquarters at 445 12th St., SW, Room TW–A325, Washington, DC 20554. The filing hours are 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. All hand deliveries must be held together with rubber bands or fasteners. Any envelopes and boxes must be disposed of before entering the building. D Commercial overnight mail (other than U.S. Postal Service Express Mail and Priority Mail) must be sent to 9050 Junction Drive, Annapolis Junction, MD 20701. D U.S. Postal Service first-class, Express, and Priority mail must be VerDate Sep<11>2014 22:03 Dec 19, 2017 Jkt 244001 addressed to 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC 20554. D People with Disabilities: To request materials in accessible formats for people with disabilities (Braille, large print, electronic files, audio format), send an email to fcc504@fcc.gov or call the Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau at 202–418–0530 (voice), 202– 418–0432 (tty). III. Ordering Clauses 29. It is ordered, pursuant to the authority found in sections 1, 4, 7, 301, 303, 307, 308, 309, 316, 319, 325(b), 336, 338, 399b, 403, 614, and 615 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. 151, 154, 157, 301, 303, 307, 308, 309, 316, 319, 325(b), 336, 338, 399b, 403, 534, and 535, this Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking is hereby adopted, effective thirty (30) days after the date of publication in the Federal Register. It is further ordered that the Commission’s Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau, Reference Information Center, shall send a copy of this Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, including the Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis, to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration. Federal Communications Commission. Marlene H. Dortch, Secretary. [FR Doc. 2017–27433 Filed 12–19–17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6712–01–P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Railroad Administration 49 CFR Part 243 [Docket No. FRA–2009–0033, Notice No. 5] RIN 2130–AC70 Training, Qualification, and Oversight for Safety-Related Railroad Employees Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), Department of Transportation (DOT). ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM). AGENCY: In response to a petition for reconsideration of a final rule, FRA proposes to amend its regulations (Training, Qualification, and Oversight for Safety-Related Railroad Employees) by delaying certain implementation dates an additional year. FRA previously delayed the regulations’ implementation dates for one year in a SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00022 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 60355 final rule published May 3, 2017 (May 2017 Final Rule). DATES: Written comments on this proposed rule must be received by January 19, 2018. Comments received after that date will be considered to the extent possible without incurring additional expense or delay. ADDRESSES: Comments related to Docket No. FRA–2009–0033 may be submitted by any of the following methods: • Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and follow the online instructions for submitting comments; • Mail: Docket Management Facility, U.S. DOT, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, W12–140, Washington, DC 20590; • Hand Delivery: The Docket Management Facility is located in Room W12–140, West Building Ground Floor, U.S. DOT, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays; or • Fax: 202–493–2251. Instructions: All submissions must include the agency name and docket number or Regulatory Identification Number (RIN) for this rulemaking (2130–AC70). All comments received will be posted without change to http:// www.regulations.gov; this includes any personal information. Please see the Privacy Act heading in the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of this document for Privacy Act information related to any submitted comments or materials. Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents, petitions for reconsideration, or comments received, go to http:// www.regulations.gov and follow the online instructions for accessing the docket or visit the Docket Management Facility described above. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Robert J. Castiglione, Staff Director— Human Performance Division, Federal Railroad Administration, 4100 International Plaza, Suite 450, Fort Worth, TX 76109–4820 (telephone: 817– 447–2715); or Alan H. Nagler, Senior Trial Attorney, Federal Railroad Administration, Office of Chief Counsel, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590 (telephone: 202– 493–6038). SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: On November 7, 2014, FRA published a final rule (2014 Final Rule) that established minimum training standards for each category and subcategory of safety-related railroad employees and required railroad carriers, contractors, and subcontractors to submit training programs to FRA for approval. See 79 E:\FR\FM\20DEP1.SGM 20DEP1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 82, Number 243 (Wednesday, December 20, 2017)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 60350-60355]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2017-27433]


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FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION

47 CFR Parts 15, 73, 74 and 76

[GN Docket No. 16-142; FCC 17-158]


Authorizing Permissive Use of the ``Next Generation'' Broadcast 
Television Standard

AGENCY: Federal Communications Commission.

ACTION: Proposed rule.

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SUMMARY: In this document, we seek further comment on issues related to 
exceptions to and waivers of the local simulcasting requirement, 
whether we should let full power broadcasters use channels in the 
television broadcast band that are vacant to facilitate the transition 
to 3.0, and finally, we tentatively conclude that local simulcasting 
should not change the significantly viewed status of a Next Gen TV 
station.

DATES: Comments are due on or before February 20, 2018; reply comments 
are due on or before March 20, 2018.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments, identified by GN Docket No. 16-142, 
by any of the following methods:
     Federal Communications Commission's website: http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/ecfs/. Follow the instructions for submitting comments.
     Mail: Filings can be sent by hand or messenger delivery, 
by commercial overnight courier, or by first-class or overnight U.S. 
Postal Service mail (although the Commission continues to experience 
delays in receiving U.S. Postal Service mail). All filings must be 
addressed to the Commission's Secretary, Office of the Secretary, 
Federal Communications Commission.
     People With Disabilities: Contact the FCC to request 
reasonable accommodations (accessible format documents, sign language 
interpreters, CART, etc.) by email: [email protected] or phone: (202) 418-
0530 or TTY: (202) 418-0432. For detailed instructions for submitting 
comments and additional information on the rulemaking process, see the 
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of this document.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For additional information, contact 
Evan Baranoff, [email protected], of the Media Bureau, Policy 
Division, (202) 418-7142, or Matthew Hussey, [email protected], of 
the Office of Engineering and Technology, (202) 418-3619. Direct press 
inquiries to Janice Wise at (202) 418-8165. For additional information 
concerning the Paperwork Reduction Act information collection 
requirements contained in this document, send an email to [email protected] 
or contact Cathy Williams at (202) 418-2918.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This is a summary of the Commission's 
Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FNPRM), FCC 17-158, adopted on 
November 16, 2017 and released on November 20, 2017. The full text of 
this document is available electronically via the FCC's Electronic 
Document Management System (EDOCS) website at http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/ or via the FCC's Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS) 
website at http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs2/. (Documents will be 
available electronically in ASCII, Microsoft Word, and/or Adobe 
Acrobat.) This document is also available for public inspection and 
copying during regular business hours in the FCC Reference Information 
Center, which is located in Room CY-A257 at FCC Headquarters, 445 12th 
Street SW, Washington, DC 20554. The Reference Information Center is 
open to the public Monday through Thursday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. 
and Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. The complete text may be 
purchased from the Commission's copy contractor, 445 12th Street SW, 
Room CY-B402, Washington, DC 20554. Alternative formats are available 
for people with disabilities (Braille, large print, electronic files, 
audio format), by sending an email to [email protected] or calling the 
Commission's Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau at (202) 418-0530 
(voice), (202) 418-0432 (TTY).

Synopsis

I. Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking

A. Introduction

    1. In this Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, we seek further 
comment on three topics related to the rules adopted in the companion 
Report and Order. First, we seek further comment on issues related to 
exceptions to and waivers of the local simulcasting requirement. 
Second, we seek comment on whether we should let full power 
broadcasters use channels in the television broadcast band that are 
vacant to facilitate the transition to 3.0. Finally, we tentatively 
conclude that local simulcasting should not change the significantly 
viewed status of a Next Gen TV station.

B. Discussion

1. Local Simulcasting Waivers and Exceptions
    2. Simulcast Waivers. In the Report and Order, we explain that we 
will consider requests for waiver of our local simulcasting requirement 
on a case-by-case basis, including (1) requests seeking to transition 
directly from 1.0 to 3.0 service on the station's existing facility 
without simulcasting in 1.0 and (2) requests to air a 1.0 simulcast 
channel from a host location that does not cover all or a portion of 
the station's community of license or from which the station can 
provide only a lower signal threshold over the community than that 
required by the rules.\1\ With respect to such requests, we state: ``We 
are inclined to consider favorably requests for waiver of our local 
simulcasting requirement where the Next Gen TV station can demonstrate 
that it has no viable local simulcasting partner in its market and 
where the station agrees to make reasonable efforts to preserve 1.0 
service to existing viewers in its community of license and/or 
otherwise minimize the impact on such viewers (for example, by 
providing free or low cost ATSC 3.0 converters to viewers).''
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    \1\ The Commission may waive its rules if good cause is shown. 
See 47 CFR 1.3. We explain in the Report and Order that we are not 
inclined to consider favorably requests to change community of 
license solely to enable simulcasting.
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    3. We seek comment on what further guidance we should provide about 
the circumstances in which we will grant a waiver of the local 
simulcasting requirement. How should we determine if a station has a 
``viable'' simulcast partner? Given that we specify in the Report and 
Order that a Next Gen TV broadcaster's 1.0 simulcast channel must 
continue to cover its entire community of license, should we consider a 
station to have no viable partner only if there is no potential 
simulcasting partner in the same DMA that can cover the station's 
entire community of license? Alternatively, should we consider adopting 
a broader definition of viability? For example, should we specify that 
waiver

[[Page 60351]]

applicants located in DMAs in which there are fewer than a threshold 
number of full power and/or Class A or LPTV broadcasters will be 
considered to have no viable partner? If so, what threshold should we 
adopt? How should we consider cases in which there are no stations that 
can cover a station's community of license, and therefore serve as an 
ATSC 1.0 simulcast host under our rules, but there are stations in the 
DMA that are transitioning to ATSC 3.0 and therefore could potentially 
serve as a 3.0 lighthouse? If there is a potential partner in the same 
DMA, are there other circumstances that would make such potential 
partner not viable, such as, for example, if the potential partner 
refused to agree to being a simulcasting partner? Should we have 
different levels of scrutiny for waiver requests depending on whether 
the petition seeks to transition directly as opposed to simulcast from 
a facility that will not cover its community of license? For stations 
that seek to simulcast from a facility that will not cover its 
community of license, should a factor be how far the host location is 
from the petitioner's community of license? Are there special 
circumstances we should consider for NCE stations, including those that 
are in isolated areas or are not centrally located in DMAs? \2\ We seek 
comment on the same issues for Class A stations if they cannot find a 
host that allows them to satisfy the simulcasting requirements in the 
Report and Order. We also seek comment on the potential impact that any 
definition of viability would have on local viewers.
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    \2\ Several commenters express concern that some broadcasters 
would not be able to satisfy a local simulcasting requirement 
because of the lack of availability of potential simulcasting 
partners. For example, PBS states that ``[p]ublic stations may be 
unable to share facilities with another station, particularly in 
rural and isolated communities, because they are often not centrally 
located in a television market. . . .'' PBS further explains that 
this is because ``noncommercial educational must-carry rights are 
not tied to Designated Market Areas, so such stations are not 
necessarily sited near their commercial counterparts, and given that 
16 states are covered by statewide public television networks that 
are designed to serve their entire state regardless of DMA 
boundaries.''
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    4. In addition, we seek comment on what type of ``reasonable 
efforts'' we should require a waiver applicant to undertake in order to 
preserve 1.0 service to existing viewers in its community of license 
and/or otherwise minimize the impact on viewers in its coverage area. 
Should it be favorable to our determination if waiver applicants 
volunteer to provide free or low cost ATSC 3.0 converters to viewers in 
their coverage area? Should we require such a commitment as a condition 
for waiver? Are there other efforts to minimize disruption to consumers 
that we should consider or require? We also invite comment on other 
circumstances in which we should consider granting waivers of the local 
simulcasting requirement.
    5. Simulcast Exceptions. We also seek comment on whether to exempt 
NCE and/or Class A stations as a class from our local simulcasting 
requirement or adopt a presumptive waiver standard for such stations. 
In the Report and Order, we exempt LPTV and TV translator stations from 
our local simulcasting requirement and allow these stations to 
transition directly to 3.0 service. Class A and NCE stations could also 
face more difficulty than commercial full power stations face when 
seeking a local simulcasting partner. Could allowing Class A and NCE 
stations to transition directly to 3.0 make them more attractive 
``lighthouse'' candidates? We seek comment on whether, as a general 
matter, allowing NCE and Class A stations to transition directly would 
serve the public interest. Under what circumstances would direct 
transitions be appropriate? What effect would this have on consumers 
and on MVPDs? What criteria distinguish these stations from full power 
commercial broadcasters to justify disparate treatment?
2. Temporary Use of Vacant Channels
    6. In the Next Gen TV NPRM, we asked whether we should ``consider 
allowing broadcasters [that wish to deploy ATSC 3.0 service] to use 
vacant in-band channels remaining in the market after the incentive 
auction repack to serve as temporary host facilities for ATSC 1.0 or 
3.0 programming by multiple broadcasters.'' ONE Media requests that in 
markets with vacant channels, the Commission should allow full power 
broadcasters to use the vacant channels as ``dedicated transition 
channels to ensure maximum continuity of service, just as it did during 
the transition from analog to digital.'' It suggests that these vacant 
channels should be made available during the post-auction transition 
period, and that only after the full power broadcaster has vacated the 
channel should the channel be made available to others, such as 
displaced LPTV and translator license applicants. ONE Media asserts 
that as primary users in the television band, full power licensees have 
priority to obtain licenses for vacant channels over any LPTV and 
translator licensees, and therefore full power licensees should be able 
to use such a channel as a transition channel during the voluntary ATSC 
3.0 deployment period, even if it is the only channel to which a 
displaced LPTV or translator station could relocate. The LPTV Spectrum 
Rights Coalition opposes ONE Media's proposal on the ground that it 
would diminish LPTV licensing rights in the middle of the displacement 
process. The Wi-Fi Alliance, Microsoft, the Consumers Union et al., and 
Dynamic Spectrum Alliance also oppose any approach that would expand 
broadcasters' spectrum rights in conjunction with ATSC 3.0 deployment, 
and they express concern about damaging the potential success of white 
space use in the television bands.
    7. Given the diversity of comments on this issue, we seek 
additional comment on the extent to which we should allow full power 
broadcasters to use vacant channels in the television broadcast band to 
facilitate the transition to 3.0, and, if so, when they should be able 
to use these channels, and what procedures we should use to authorize 
that use. As a threshold matter, how should we define a ``vacant'' 
channel for this purpose? We seek specific comment on ONE Media's 
proposal, and how it potentially would affect the post-incentive 
auction transition/repacking process and the various other users in the 
repacked television band.\3\ That is, given that vacant channels might 
be needed by stations transitioning to new channel assignments, how 
does ONE Media's proposal impact that and the post-auction process in 
general? For example, if we allow usage of vacant channels, should we 
only allow temporary access to a vacant channel after the repacking 
process is completed? Or, should we permit such access after the LPTV 
displacement window is closed?
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    \3\ In the Incentive Auction R&O, the Commission provided for a 
39-month post-incentive auction transition pertaining to the various 
secondary broadcast and unlicensed operations in the TV bands--
including LPTV and TV translator stations, broadcast auxiliary 
service, wireless microphones, and unlicensed white space devices--
with the goal of promoting a smooth and effective transition 
process.
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    8. If we were to permit full power licensees priority to use vacant 
channels as dedicated transition channels, we seek comment on the 
process for doing so. Specifically, how would broadcasters apply for an 
authorization to use a vacant channel? Should the request be for 
Special Temporary Authority (STA)? Should we instead consider a request 
for a temporary channel to be a minor change of the station's existing 
license and require a minor change application? If we treat these 
requests as minor changes, should we process such requests on a first-
come, first-served basis? Should we

[[Page 60352]]

open a window for such requests? How should we resolve competing 
requests for temporary channels? What should we require a broadcaster 
to show to demonstrate that it needs a temporary channel, and how long 
should the authorization last? What effect would this proposal have on 
other users in the repacked band, including wireless microphone users 
and white space device operations? \4\ We also seek input on how we 
should address MVPD carriage issues related to usage of vacant 
channels. How would the Commission handle loss of service when the full 
power broadcaster ceases its temporary operation--and moves back to its 
original facility? We seek specific comment on the effects on small 
entities: (1) Would allowing broadcasters to use these vacant channels 
help small broadcasters transition, (2) would allowing broadcasters to 
use these vacant channels impose carriage burdens on small MVPDs, and 
(3) what can we do to ease the burdens on those entities? We seek 
comment on these and any other issues that we would need to address if 
we allow full power broadcasters to use vacant channels as temporary 
transition channels.
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    \4\ We note that the Commission has an open proceeding seeking 
comment on whether to preserve a vacant channel in every area for 
white space device and wireless microphone use.
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3. Significantly Viewed Status of Next Gen TV Stations
    9. We tentatively conclude that the significantly viewed status of 
a Next Gen TV station should not change if it moves its 1.0 simulcast 
channel to a temporary host facility.\5\ Under our proposal, a 
commercial television station that relocates its 1.0 simulcast channel 
could not seek to gain significantly viewed status in new communities 
or counties and such station could not lose significantly viewed status 
in communities or counties for which it qualified prior to the move of 
its 1.0 simulcast channel. We seek comment on this tentative 
conclusion. In the Report and Order, we impose a freeze on the filing 
of any requests to change the significantly viewed status of a Next Gen 
TV station that is moving its 1.0 simulcast channel to avoid confusion 
while we consider this issue.\6\
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    \5\ Significantly viewed stations are commercial television 
stations that the Commission has determined have ``significant'' 
over-the-air (i.e., non-cable and non-satellite) viewing and are 
thus treated as local stations in certain respects with regard to a 
particular community in another television market. The Significantly 
Viewed Stations List is maintained on Commission's website at 
https://transition.fcc.gov/mb/significantviewedstations061817.pdf.
    \6\ We note that, in order to obtain a waiver of the network 
nonduplication and syndicated-exclusivity rules (collectively, 
``exclusivity rules''), petitioners seeking to reassert exclusivity 
rights on significantly viewed stations are required to demonstrate 
for two consecutive years that a station was no longer significantly 
viewed, based either on community-specific or system-specific over-
the-air viewing data, following the methodology set forth in 47 CFR 
76.54(b).
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    10. Stations that vary their signal strength or change their 
location as a result of moving their 1.0 signal to simulcast raise the 
question of how this change may affect their status as ``significantly 
viewed'' in certain communities or counties under Sec. Sec.  76.5(i) 
and 76.54 of our rules. Significantly viewed status allows the 
significantly viewed station (1) to be carried by a satellite carrier 
in such community in the other market; \7\ (2) to be carried in such 
community by cable and satellite operators at the reduced copyright 
payment applicable to local (in-market) stations; and (3) to be exempt 
in such community from another station's assertion of its network non-
duplication or syndicated exclusivity rights. We tentatively agree with 
ATVA that we should maintain the status quo in the significantly viewed 
context with respect to 1.0 simulcast signals.\8\ We note that our 
tentative conclusion differs from how we addressed this issue in the 
channel sharing context. In the Incentive Auction Report and Order, the 
Commission found that because significantly viewed status is largely a 
function of signal availability, a station moving to a new channel 
should lose its status at the relinquished location. But unlike the 
channel sharing context, Next Gen TV broadcasters are not relinquishing 
their original channel, but rather will continue to operate on it and 
will ultimately return to it when the local simulcasting period ends. 
That is, the relocation of the 1.0 signal is temporary and a Next Gen 
TV broadcaster will continue to reach the communities or counties in 
which it is significantly viewed with an over-the-air signal, albeit in 
3.0.\9\
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    \7\ Significantly viewed status is an exception to the ``no 
distant where local'' requirement which prohibits satellite carriage 
of distant (out-of-market) stations.
    \8\ We note that ATVA argues the Commission should ``prohibit 
simulcasts that reduce a station's eligibility for `significantly 
viewed' carriage'' and urges that the Commission ``not adopt the 
approach it took to channel sharing.'' Although we do not restrict 
simulcasts in the manner sought by ATVA, we tentatively agree with 
ATVA in this FNPRM to the extent that ATVA seeks to maintain the 
status quo with respect to significantly viewed carriage while local 
simulcasting is required.
    \9\ We tentatively conclude that the availability of the 3.0 
signal to the station's existing viewers at its original location is 
relevant in the significantly viewed context. Moreover, considering 
3.0 service in this regard will not impose additional mandatory 
carriage obligations on MVPDs (because MVPD carriage of 
significantly viewed stations is voluntary).
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    11. We recognize that broadcasters would not soon be able to 
demonstrate ``significant viewing'' with their 3.0 signals, but expect 
they will eventually be able to do so once Next Gen TV service takes 
hold in the marketplace. In the meantime, we tentatively conclude that 
maintaining the status quo with respect to eligibility for 
significantly viewed carriage would avoid some complications and 
disruptions to cable and satellite television viewers who have come to 
rely on such signals, while not imposing added mandatory carriage 
burdens on MVPDs.\10\ We likewise tentatively conclude that expansion 
of eligibility for significantly viewed carriage due to the relocation 
of the 1.0 simulcast channel is not consistent with the purposes of 
local simulcasting, which includes maintaining existing television 
service to viewers within the station's original coverage area but does 
not include expanding service into new areas. We seek comment on our 
proposal and tentative conclusions. We also seek comment on what effect 
our proposal and tentative conclusions would have on small broadcasters 
and MVPDs.
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    \10\ We note that significantly viewed status does not confer 
mandatory carriage rights to the station, but rather only allows 
carriage of the station via retransmission consent. Thus, 
maintaining the status quo with respect to eligibility for 
significantly viewed carriage presents no mandatory carriage burdens 
on MVPDs.
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II. Procedural Matters

A. Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis

    12. As required by the Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980, as 
amended (RFA), the Federal Communications Commission (Commission) has 
prepared this present Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (IRFA) 
concerning the possible significant economic impact on a substantial 
number of small entities by the policies and rules proposed in the 
Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FNPRM). Written public comments 
are requested on this IRFA. Comments must be identified as responses to 
the IRFA and must be filed by the deadlines for comments provided on 
the first page of the item. The Commission will send a copy of the 
FNPRM, including this IRFA, to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the 
Small Business Administration (SBA).\11\ In addition, the FNPRM and 
IRFA (or

[[Page 60353]]

summaries thereof) will be published in the Federal Register.\12\
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    \11\ See 5 U.S.C. 603(a).
    \12\ See id.
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1. Need for, and Objectives of, the Proposed Rules
    13. In this Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, we seek further 
comment on three topics related to the rules adopted in the companion 
Report and Order, which authorizes television broadcasters to use the 
``Next Generation'' broadcast television (Next Gen TV) transmission 
standard, also called ``ATSC 3.0'' or ``3.0,'' on a voluntary, market-
driven basis. Next Gen TV broadcasters will continue to deliver 
current-generation digital television (DTV) service, using the ATSC 1.0 
transmission standard, also called ``ATSC 1.0'' or ``1.0,'' to their 
viewers via ``local simulcasting.''
    14. Simulcast Waivers and Exceptions. First, we seek further 
comment on issues related to exceptions to and waivers of the local 
simulcasting requirement. In the Report and Order, we explain that we 
will consider requests for waiver of our local simulcasting requirement 
on a case-by-case basis, including (1) requests seeking to transition 
directly from 1.0 to 3.0 service on the station's existing facility 
without simulcasting in 1.0 and (2) requests to air a 1.0 simulcast 
channel from a host location that does not cover all or a portion of 
the station's community of license or from which the station can 
provide only a lower signal threshold over the community than that 
required by the rules.\13\ With respect to such requests, we state: 
``We are inclined to consider favorably requests for waiver of our 
local simulcasting requirement where the Next Gen TV station can 
demonstrate that it has no viable local simulcasting partner in its 
market and where the station agrees to make reasonable efforts to 
preserve 1.0 service to existing viewers in its community of license 
and/or otherwise minimize the impact on such viewers (for example, by 
providing free or low cost ATSC 3.0 converters to viewers).'' In this 
FNPRM, we seek comment on what further guidance we should provide about 
the circumstances in which we will grant a waiver of the local 
simulcasting requirement. Among other things, we ask how we should 
determine if a station has a ``viable'' simulcast partner and whether 
there are special circumstances we should consider for NCE and/or Class 
A stations.
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    \13\ The Commission may waive its rules if good cause is shown. 
See 47 CFR 1.3. We explain in the Report and Order that we are not 
inclined to consider favorably requests to change community of 
license solely to enable simulcasting.
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    15. Simulcast Exceptions.\14\ In the Report and Order, we exempt 
LPTV and TV translator stations from our local simulcasting requirement 
and allow these stations to transition directly to 3.0 service. In this 
FNPRM, we also seek comment on whether to exempt NCE and/or Class A 
stations as a class from our local simulcasting requirement or adopt a 
presumptive waiver standard for such stations. Class A and NCE stations 
could also face more difficulty than commercial full power stations 
face when seeking a local simulcasting partner.
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    \14\ Unlike waivers which are considered on a case-by-case 
basis, exceptions or class waivers do not require the filing of a 
waiver request.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    16. Temporary Use of Vacant Channels. Second, we seek comment on 
whether we should let full power broadcasters use channels in the 
television broadcast band that are vacant to facilitate the transition 
to 3.0. In the Next Gen TV NPRM, the Commission asked whether we should 
``consider allowing broadcasters [that wish to deploy ATSC 3.0 service] 
to use vacant in-band channels remaining in the market after the 
incentive auction repack to serve as temporary host facilities for ATSC 
1.0 or 3.0 programming by multiple broadcasters.'' ONE Media requests 
that in markets with vacant channels, the Commission should allow full 
power broadcasters to use the vacant channels as ``dedicated transition 
channels to ensure maximum continuity of service, just as it did during 
the transition from analog to digital.'' The LPTV Spectrum Rights 
Coalition opposes ONE Media's proposal on the ground that it would 
diminish LPTV licensing rights in the middle of the displacement 
process. The Wi-Fi Alliance, Microsoft, the Consumers Union et al., and 
Dynamic Spectrum Alliance also oppose any approach that would expand 
broadcasters' spectrum rights in conjunction with ATSC 3.0 deployment, 
and they express concern about damaging the potential success of white 
space use in the television bands.
    17. Significantly Viewed Status of Next Gen TV Stations. Finally, 
we tentatively conclude that local simulcasting should not change the 
significantly viewed status of a Next Gen TV station. Stations that 
vary their signal strength or change their location as a result of 
moving their 1.0 signal to simulcast raise the question of how this 
change may affect their status as ``significantly viewed'' in certain 
communities or counties under Sec. Sec.  76.5(i) and 76.54 of our 
rules. Significantly viewed status allows the significantly viewed 
station (1) to be carried by a satellite carrier in such community in 
the other market; (2) to be carried in such community by cable and 
satellite operators at the reduced copyright payment applicable to 
local (in-market) stations; and (3) to be exempt in such community from 
another station's assertion of its network non-duplication or 
syndicated exclusivity rights. Under our proposal, a commercial 
television station that relocates its 1.0 simulcast channel could not 
seek to gain significantly viewed status in new communities or counties 
and such station could not lose significantly viewed status in 
communities or counties for which it qualified prior to the move of its 
1.0 simulcast channel.
2. Legal Basis
    18. The proposed action is authorized pursuant to sections 1, 4, 
301, 303, 307, 308, 309, 316, 319, 325(b), 336, 338, 399b, 403, 534, 
and 535 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. 151, 
154, 301, 303, 307, 308, 309, 316, 319, 325(b), 336, 338, 399b, 403, 
534, and 535.
3. Description and Estimate of the Number of Small Entities To Which 
the Proposed Rules Will Apply
    19. The RFA directs agencies to provide a description of, and where 
feasible, an estimate of the number of small entities that may be 
affected by the proposed rules, if adopted. The types of small entities 
that may be affected by the R&O fall within the following categories: 
(1) Wired Telecommunications Carriers, of which 3,083 are estimated to 
be small entities; (2) Cable Companies and Systems (Rate Regulation), 
of which 3,900 are estimated to be small entities; (3) Cable System 
Operators (Telecom Act Standard), of which 52,403,696 are estimated to 
be small entities; (4) Direct Broadcast Satellite Service, of which 
3,083 are estimated to be small entities, but internally developed FCC 
data suggest that in general DBS service is only provided by large 
entities; (5) Satellite Master Antenna Television (SMATV) Systems, also 
known as Private Cable Operators (PCOs),of which 3,083 are estimated to 
be small entities; (6) Home Satellite Dish (HSD) Service, of which 
3,083 are estimated to be small entities; (7) Open Video Services, of 
which 3,083 are estimated to be small entities; (8) Wireless Cable 
Systems--Broadband Radio Service and Educational Broadband Service, of 
which 440 (BBS) and 2,241 (EBS) are

[[Page 60354]]

estimated to be small entities; (9) Incumbent Local Exchange Carriers 
(ILECs) and Small Incumbent Local Exchange Carriers, of which 3,083 are 
estimated to be small entities; (10) Radio and Television Broadcasting 
and Wireless Communications Equipment Manufacturing, of which 819 are 
estimated to be small entities; (11) Audio and Video Equipment 
Manufacturing of which 465 are estimated to be small entities; (12) and 
Television Broadcasting, of which 656 (commercial stations), 395 (NCE 
stations), 2,344 (LPTV), and 3,689 (TV translator stations) are 
estimated to be small entities.
4. Description of Projected Reporting, Recordkeeping, and Other 
Compliance Requirements
    20. The FNPRM does not propose any new reporting, recordkeeping, or 
compliance requirements. However, if the Commission decides to allow 
the use of unused channels, there may be new reporting requirements, 
such as the filing of an application with the Commission. Additionally, 
if the Commission decides to adopt specific criteria for its waiver 
standard, these may be considered new compliance requirements.
5. Steps Taken To Minimize Significant Economic Impact on Small 
Entities and Significant Alternatives Considered
    21. The RFA requires an agency to describe any significant 
alternatives that it has considered in reaching its proposed approach, 
which may include the following four alternatives (among others): ``(1) 
The establishment of differing compliance or reporting requirements or 
timetables that take into account the resources available to small 
entities; (2) the clarification, consolidation, or simplification of 
compliance and reporting requirements under the rule for such small 
entities; (3) the use of performance rather than design standards; and 
(4) an exemption from coverage of the rule, or any part thereof, for 
small entities.'' \15\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \15\ 5 U.S.C. 603(c)(1)-(c)(4).\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    22. Local Simulcasting Waivers and Exceptions. The FNPRM seeks 
comment on two issues related to waivers of the local simulcasting 
requirement: (1) The circumstances in which we should grant a waiver of 
our local simulcasting requirement for full power and Class A stations; 
and (2) whether we should permit NCE and Class A stations to transition 
directly from ATSC 1.0 to 3.0. As noted in Section C. of this IRFA, NCE 
and Class A stations are considered small entities. Waiver of, or 
exemption from, the local simulcasting requirement may afford more 
flexibility to broadcasters, including small entities, that may face 
unique challenges in finding a suitable simulcasting partner. This 
added flexibility may reduce costs for such small entities.
    23. Temporary Use of Vacant Channels. The FNPRM seeks comment on 
whether we should allow full power broadcasters to use vacant channels 
in the television broadcast band to facilitate the transition to 3.0, 
and, if so, when they should be able to use these channels, and what 
procedures we should use to authorize that use. We seek specific 
comment on the effects on small entities: (1) Would allowing 
broadcasters to use these vacant channels help small broadcasters 
transition to 3.0?, \16\ (2) would allowing broadcasters to use these 
vacant channels impose carriage burdens on small MVPDs?, and (3) what 
can we do to ease the burdens on those small entities?
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \16\ For example, NCTA opposes temporary use of vacant channels 
in the television broadcast band for ATSC 1.0 simulcast signals. 
NCTA Reply at 8. NCTA explains that ``[a]llowing use of a 
`temporary' channel for these purposes would impose new, 
unreimbursed costs on cable operators. Operators might need to 
purchase and install new equipment--or at a minimum, incur the labor 
costs and burdens of repointing receive antennas at the headend--to 
be able to continue to receive a station transmitting on this new 
frequency.'' Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    24. Significantly Viewed Status of Next Gen TV Stations. The FNPRM 
tentatively concludes that the significantly viewed status of a Next 
Gen TV station should not change if it moves its 1.0 simulcast channel 
to a temporary host facility. Under this proposal, a commercial 
television station that relocates its 1.0 simulcast channel could not 
seek to gain significantly viewed status in new communities or counties 
and such station could not lose significantly viewed status in 
communities or counties for which it qualified prior to the move of its 
1.0 simulcast channel. We tentatively conclude that maintaining the 
status quo with respect to eligibility for significantly viewed 
carriage would avoid some complications and disruptions to MVPDs and 
their subscribers, who have come to rely on such signals. We seek 
comment on what effect our proposal and tentative conclusion would have 
on small broadcasters and MVPDs.
6. Federal Rules That May Duplicate, Overlap, or Conflict With the 
Proposed Rule
    25. None.

B. Initial Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 Analysis

    26. This NPRM may result in new or revised information collection 
requirements. If the Commission adopts any new or revised information 
collection requirements, the Commission will publish a notice in the 
Federal Register inviting the public to comment on such requirements, 
as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995. In addition, 
pursuant to the Small Business Paperwork Relief Act of 2002, the 
Commission will seek specific comment on how it might ``further reduce 
the information collection burden for small business concerns with 
fewer than 25 employees.''

C. Ex Parte Rules

    27. Permit But Disclose. The proceeding this Notice initiates shall 
be treated as a ``permit-but-disclose'' proceeding in accordance with 
the Commission's ex parte rules. Ex parte presentations are permissible 
if disclosed in accordance with Commission rules, except during the 
Sunshine Agenda period when presentations, ex parte or otherwise, are 
generally prohibited. Persons making ex parte presentations must file a 
copy of any written presentation or a memorandum summarizing any oral 
presentation within two business days after the presentation (unless a 
different deadline applicable to the Sunshine period applies). Persons 
making oral ex parte presentations are reminded that memoranda 
summarizing the presentation must (1) list all persons attending or 
otherwise participating in the meeting at which the ex parte 
presentation was made, and (2) summarize all data presented and 
arguments made during the presentation. Memoranda must contain a 
summary of the substance of the ex parte presentation and not merely a 
listing of the subjects discussed. More than a one or two sentence 
description of the views and arguments presented is generally required. 
If the presentation consisted in whole or in part of the presentation 
of data or arguments already reflected in the presenter's written 
comments, memoranda or other filings in the proceeding, the presenter 
may provide citations to such data or arguments in his or her prior 
comments, memoranda, or other filings (specifying the relevant page 
and/or paragraph numbers where such data or arguments can be found) in 
lieu of summarizing them in the memorandum. Documents shown or given to 
Commission staff during ex parte meetings are deemed to be written ex 
parte presentations and

[[Page 60355]]

must be filed consistent with Sec.  1.1206(b) of the rules. In 
proceedings governed by Sec.  1.49(f) of the rules or for which the 
Commission has made available a method of electronic filing, written ex 
parte presentations and memoranda summarizing oral ex parte 
presentations, and all attachments thereto, must be filed through the 
electronic comment filing system available for that proceeding, and 
must be filed in their native format (e.g., .doc, .xml, .ppt, 
searchable .pdf). Participants in this proceeding should familiarize 
themselves with the Commission's ex parte rules.

D. Filing Procedures

    28. Pursuant to Sec. Sec.  1.415 and 1.419 of the Commission's 
rules, 47 CFR 1.415, 1.419, interested parties may file comments and 
reply comments on or before the dates indicated on the first page of 
this document. Comments may be filed using the Commission's Electronic 
Comment Filing System (ECFS). Electronic Filers: Comments may be filed 
electronically using the internet by accessing the ECFS: http://apps.fcc.gov/ecfs/.
    [ssquf] Electronic Filers: Comments may be filed electronically 
using the internet by accessing the ECFS: http://apps.fcc.gov/ecfs/.
    [ssquf] Paper Filers: Parties who choose to file by paper must file 
an original and one copy of each filing. If more than one docket or 
rulemaking number appears in the caption of this proceeding, filers 
must submit two additional copies for each additional docket or 
rulemaking number.
    [ssquf] Filings can be sent by hand or messenger delivery, by 
commercial overnight courier, or by first-class or overnight U.S. 
Postal Service mail. All filings must be addressed to the Commission's 
Secretary, Office of the Secretary, Federal Communications Commission.
    [ssquf] All hand-delivered or messenger-delivered paper filings for 
the Commission's Secretary must be delivered to FCC Headquarters at 445 
12th St., SW, Room TW-A325, Washington, DC 20554. The filing hours are 
8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. All hand deliveries must be held together with 
rubber bands or fasteners. Any envelopes and boxes must be disposed of 
before entering the building.
    [ssquf] Commercial overnight mail (other than U.S. Postal Service 
Express Mail and Priority Mail) must be sent to 9050 Junction Drive, 
Annapolis Junction, MD 20701.
    [ssquf] U.S. Postal Service first-class, Express, and Priority mail 
must be addressed to 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC 20554.
    [ssquf] People with Disabilities: To request materials in 
accessible formats for people with disabilities (Braille, large print, 
electronic files, audio format), send an email to [email protected] or 
call the Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau at 202-418-0530 
(voice), 202-418-0432 (tty).

III. Ordering Clauses

    29. It is ordered, pursuant to the authority found in sections 1, 
4, 7, 301, 303, 307, 308, 309, 316, 319, 325(b), 336, 338, 399b, 403, 
614, and 615 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. 
151, 154, 157, 301, 303, 307, 308, 309, 316, 319, 325(b), 336, 338, 
399b, 403, 534, and 535, this Report and Order and Further Notice of 
Proposed Rulemaking is hereby adopted, effective thirty (30) days after 
the date of publication in the Federal Register.
    It is further ordered that the Commission's Consumer and 
Governmental Affairs Bureau, Reference Information Center, shall send a 
copy of this Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed 
Rulemaking, including the Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis, to the 
Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration.

Federal Communications Commission.
Marlene H. Dortch,
Secretary.
[FR Doc. 2017-27433 Filed 12-19-17; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 6712-01-P